Beverage Bulletin June 2016

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

Ben Ziff, Publisher

June 2016

This month's stories include:

Headline News Stories - Alcohol Consumption Down Except in the U.S., Walmart Wine Wins Blind Tasting, Hot Dogs Biggest Day, Bacardi Pernod Dispute Rolls On, Liquor Wholesaler Accused in Smuggling, Drinking Brings Happiness, Drought Update


Celebrities in the Industry - Daren Metropoulos, Cheech Marin, D J Khaled, AC/DC


Popular Culture - He Reported on the French Paradox, Mortal Kombat X


Books - A Very Nice Glass of Wine, Bread and Wine, Food and Beer, My life in Beer and Politics, Smuggler's Cove


Movies - Bartales of New York


Politics - What's on Your Plate? Trump, Clinton, Sanders; Chef Anthony Bourdain in Politics; Colorado Governor Brews His Own


Wine - We'll Always Have Paris, 2016 Weather Hits French Grapes, 2015 Vintage of the Century in Tuscany, Thomas Jefferson's Wines Make the News Again, Record Price for Bordeau Wine, Tiburon Embezzler Arrested, Where Did It Go?, Secret Wine Cellar Found, More Fakes at Auction, Kurniawan's Legacy Haunts the Courts, Vineyard Land Prices Spike, Chinese Tycoon Buys Two More Chateaux, Number 10 Downing Picks New Sparklers, Freixenet Gets Buyout Offer, Wine Without Grapes?, Bottle Keeps Wine From Spoiling, How Much is Your Mouth Worth?


Beer - Tax Relief on the Way, Pabst Sues Miller/Coors, 6 Pack Rings That Fish Can Eat, Sam Adams Helps Vets, 2,000 Year Old Beer Tab, New Home Brewing System, Stone Brewing Opens in Napa, Beer & Pizza, Brew Beer or Go To Jail, 3600 Year Old Brewery, Beer for Women, Beer from Beans, AB/Inbev Antitrust Action, Another AB/Inbev Antitrust Action, App Checks Beer Freshness, New App to Buy Beer


Hard Soda - Craft Hard Soda Sales Growing


Spirits – Brexit?, Cuervo May Go Public, Bourbon Sales Hit New High, Free Cocktails in Singapore, Oldest Woman Drinks Grappa


Other Foods and Beverages - Michelle Obama Wins!, This Year's Food Fix, California Restaurant Named to Top 10, California Restaurant Named to Top 50, Healthy Gourmet Fast Food, Restaurant with High Standards, Prison Restaurant in Singapore, Coca-Cola Loses Trademark Rights, Sleepy Time, Wake Up!, Soda Warning, Cold Coffee is Hot, Time Out, Bringing the Winery Home, It's Going to the Dogs ...or Cats


The Changing Market, Top Retailer Amazon, Cybercrime, Retail Shrink


Recipes - Frozen Negroni, Champagne Gummy Bears


Health - Measure Blood Alcohol, Red Wine Does it Again, Tequila and Osteoporosis

and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar

Chef Anthony Bourdain

I believe -- to the best of my recollection, anyway -- that I soon made the classic error of moving from margaritas to actual shots of straight tequila. It does make it easier to meet new people.”
-Anthony Bourdain from Parts Unknown (Also see Politics Below)

Headline News Stories

Alcohol Consumption Down Except in the U.S.

Euromonitor's statistics for 2015 show that worldwide consumption of alcohol dropped for the first time since the company began tracking the numbers. Global use dropped 0.7% last year. The only exception was the U.S. with sales of 30.6 billion liters of beverage alcohol, up from 29.8 billion liters in 2014. China, the world's largest market was down 3.5%, and Ukraine had the biggest drop at 17%.

Walmart Wine Wins Blind Tasting

La Moneda Reserva Malbec won Platinum Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards. The Chilean wine beat 16,000 other entries in the blind tasting. The wine is featured at the Walmart UK subsidiary, ASDA for a rollback price of 5.75 (U.S. $6.29). Judges described it “an absolute crowd pleaser”, “freshly crushed black fruit, creamy vanilla yoghurt and pepper spice”, “succulent juicy berries on the palate” and “an excellent freshness.”

Hot Dogs Biggest Day

The 4th of July is the single biggest day to have a hot dog. Americans will eat 150 million of them. Lay them end to end and they will stretch from Washington D.C. To L.A. more than 5 times.

Bacardi Pernod Dispute Rolls On

The feud between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard has moved into the House of Representatives where the House Appropriations Bill for 2017 contains language that sides with Bacardi. It prohibits “funds to approve the licensing of a mark, trade name, or commercial name that was confiscated by the Cuban government without express consent.”

Liquor Wholesaler Accused in Smuggling

Republic National Distributing Company, the nation's second largest distributor and three employees have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney on 23 federal charges including smuggling, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy for activities from 2009 to 2012. Allegedly Eugene Gerzsenyi (Asst Director of Operations), Jason Lockerman (Salesman) and Lisa Robbins (Accounting Manager) arranged to have liquor shipped from Republic's Maryland warehouse to New York retailers through Maryland retailers. Maryland tax is $1.50 a gallon and New York tax is $7.44 a gallon. The tax saving amounted to $14.26 per case. The New York retailers paid the Maryland retailers in cash which was deposited in their business accounts. Then the Maryland retailers paid Republic by check. Republic could be fined the entire amount of the sales;

$9 million. The three employees could each face fines of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison. The story was broken by Baltimore radio station WBAL 1090. How important is this? The investigation force included United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Assistant Administrator for Field Operations Tom Crone, U.S. Treasury Department, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB); and Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office and the indictment was issued by a Federal Grand Jury.

Drinking Brings Happiness

Now it's a fact. A group of British scientists have used a Smartphone app called Mappiness developed at the London School of Economics to gauge human responses. On a scale of 0-100, the study found that while consuming alcohol, participants enjoyed precisely 10.79 points of extra happiness. Some variables could contribute to the increase. People could be with friends, out at a bar, or watching sports. The important thing is that the drinker's mood and well-being are increased. The study used 2 million responses from 31,000 people over 3 years.

Drought Update

Lake Mead is now at the lowest level since it was originally filled in 1935. California's biggest reservoirs have fared somewhat better. Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville are 90% full; Folsom Lake is 85% full. Last winter's El Nino was a help, but not enough. Groundwater has not recovered. The question is whether this year's fill will have to last for a few years. The State Water Project that governs these lakes and is the primary source of the Metropolitan Water District is going to allow each water district to set its own conservation goals for the coming year.

Water May be Saved for Fish

Federal fishery regulators are considering holding back water in Shasta and Folsom for later release during the late summer and early fall. The plan would keep river water colder and protect Winter Run Chinook Salmon and Delta Smelt. Both species face extinction after 2 years of warm water that caused the death of juvenile fish. 15 U.S. Congressmen from California have petitioned President Obama to let the water flow earlier for farmers.

Next Winter Could Be Dry

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 33% chance that next winter will have less than normal precipitation.

Celebrities in the Industry

Daren Metropoulos, CEO of Metropoulos and Co. has bought the Playboy Mansion. The purchase price was not disclosed. It was offered at $200 million. Metropoulos lives next door. Part of the deal is an agreement to allow 90 year old Hugh Hefner to remain in the mansion for the rest of his life. The Metropoulos family has owned, revitalized and sold numerous brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Hostess, Perrier Jouët Champagne, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Bumble Bee Tuna, Chef Boyardee, Duncan Hines and many others.


Cheech Marin has his own liquor, Tres Papalote Mescal, $60. He introduced it at a party in New York's Black Barn restaurant. Among the guests were Tommy Chong and Geraldo Rivera. Watch his promotional video at


The rock group, AC/DC, will be introducing their own Tequila as part of a summer concert tour. Thunderstruck Tequila is being bottled for them by Fabrica de Tequilas Finos. It will be available in Silver, Reposado, and Añejo. Prices range from $29.99 to $39.99.


D J Khaled, founder of We the Best and star of the internet, is partnering to promote Champagne Luc Belaire. He says it has notes of honeysuckle, peach, apricots, and citrus. His new signature breakfast is a bowl of fruit and Champagne.


Popular Culture

He Reported on the French Paradox

Journalist, Morley Safer, died just a week after retiring. He is remembered for many things, but his importance to this industry is something we all should note. It was on the November 17, 1991 edition of 60 Minutes that Safer reported on the “French Paradox.” Americans were exercising more than ever, and eating healthy food. The French were eating lots of butter, cheese, and animal fats. Yet the French had a much lower incidence of heart disease. He introduced us to Serge Renaud, a scientist at the University of Bordeaux and the apparent reason; red wine. Holding a glass of the ruby liquid, Safer said “So the answer to the riddle, the explanation of the paradox, may lie in this inviting glass.” In 1992 the sales of red wine increased 39%.

Mortal Kombat X

Warner Bros., Sound Brewery, and Global Beverage Traders have announced the launch of a series of beers made to accompany the game, Mortal Kombat X. Scorpian Imperial Stout is flavored with chilis and vanilla beans. Sub-zero Imperial IPA has a blend of malt and hops. Raiden Imperial Saison is an electrifying Belgian Ale. All are available in 22 ounce bottles.


A Very Nice Glass of Wine by Helen McGinn, Chronicle Books LLC, 176 pages, Soft cover $16.95, digital $10.99, Kindle edition $1.99. A diary of 52 weeks of self taught wine tasting. A wine education for newbies.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Zondervan & Harper Collins, 289 pages, hard cover $19.99, Kindle $9.99. The meals and wines that combined to bring family together around the table and created memories. A series of essays.

Food and Beer by Daniel Burns, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, and Joshua David Stein, Phaidon Press, 256 pages, $49.95. An 8 1/2 X 11 coffee table book for those serious about Craft Beer. This is a cookbook by the owners of Luksus restaurant in Brooklyn and adjoining Torst Beer Bar. Each author has his own area of expertise and takes the reader through gourmet recipes, ingredients, flavors, and life in a restaurant.

My life in Beer and Politics by John Hickenlooper, Penguin Press, 368 pages, $30. His life story so far. (See Politics below.)

Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki by Martin and Rebecca Cate, Ten Speed, 352 pages, $30. The owners of San Francisco's Smuggler's Cove Bar give the recipes for their tropical drinks. They give the history and evolution of Tiki Bars from Don the Beachcomber (Ernest Gantt) and Trader Vic (Victor Bergeron) through the 50's and 60's and the resurgence of the genre in the 90's. The book covers everything the reader needs to know from different types and styles of rum to how to core a pineapple.


iPic Theatres is presenting a new movie, Bartales of New York. The film takes the viewer on a tour of six iconic bars in the Big Apple and the history of New York bar culture. The guides are three of the best known personalities in the drinks trade; Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail; Dave Wondrich from Esquire Magazine; and Gary Regan, author of Joy of Mixology. The film was shown in an advance screening by the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC).


What's on Your Plate?

Dividend Mantra studied the expenditure reports of the presidential campaigns to find out where they were eating. The results: Donald Trump's staff patronizes McDonald's with $896. Donald's personal favorite; Filet 'O Fish. He says “I can live with it.” They also got sandwiches at Jason's Deli, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, and Wendy's. Bernie Sanders staff favors Panera with $2,633 spent on sandwiches and baked goods. Sanders group also went to Dunkin' Donuts and Einstein Bros. Bagels. Hilary Clinton's staff takes out from Domino's and set the record for purchases at a single chain with $6731. Trying not to show favorites among the “hard working restaurant workers”, they also went to Pizza Hut and Panda Express.

Chef Anthony Bourdain in Politics

Chef, Anthony Bourdain, spoke out about Donald Trump's choice in beef and immigration. Trump likes his rib eye steaks “burnt to a crisp and leathery.” In an interview with the New York Daily News, Bourdain said he'd like to “eat dinner with Trump, but for all the wrong reasons. I'd like to see him struggle with chopsticks and eat a well done f***ing steak. If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people ...every restaurant in America would shut down.”

The chef also dined with Barack Obama at a small restaurant in Hanoi during the President's trip to Viet Nam. They ate Bun Cha; grilled fatty pork served over rice noodles and herbs, with a dipping sauce on the side. As revealed by the chef, Obama is comfortable with chopsticks, he is also comfortable sitting on a stool at a low table, later he was very friendly with the camera crew and posed for a picture with them, the dinner cost $6.

Colorado Governor Brews His Own

John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, is being mentioned as a possible VP under Hilary Clinton. He worked his way through Wesleyan College on a ten year program, then was laid off from his first job as a geologist. Taking a turn in his career, he opened a brew pub in downtown Denver. The business grew and he became a multimillionaire, owning a chain of brew pubs across the western states. On a lark, he ran for mayor and won. After serving two terms he ran and won as Colorado Governor in 2010. (See Books above.)


We'll Always Have Paris

This marks the 40th anniversary of the “Judgment of Paris” when the California wines Stags Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, both vintage 1973, earned top scores in a blind tasting against the finest French wines. It is still a matter of pride throughout the industry. Steven Spurrier, an Englishman who owned a Paris wine store was impressed with California wine and decided to hold a blind tasting to see how they did against their French counterparts. On May 24, 1976 the tasting was held in honor of the U.S. bicentennial. Spurrier chose first growth and classified growth Bordeaux to taste against California Cabernet Sauvignon and white burgundies to taste against California Chardonnay. The judges were French. The result was a surprise and made history because no one expected it.

2016 Weather Hits French Grapes

Weather continues to mar the French wine picture for 2016. Frost damaged 20% of the crop in Burgundy and Chablis, followed by hail which took another 10% toll. As much as 30% of the Loire crop was lost to a hailstorm with hail as big as baseballs.

2015 Vintage of the Century in Tuscany

Chianti Classico producers are saying 2015 may end up being the vintage of the century. Everything was perfect. The rain and sunshine were optimum and the wine is aging beautifully. Prices are predicted to be reasonable.

Thomas Jefferson's Wines Make the News Again

The New York Public Library has digitized some of Thomas Jefferson's records and letters allowing today's researchers to catalog the wine purchases of this famous oenophile. In one year of his presidency, 1802-03 he spent $1,296 on wine. That is the equivalent of $28,000 today. What did he buy? Here are some of his purchases. Prices include duty and shipping:

1801 - 1 Pipe (110 gallons) of Madeira $350

1802 - 1 Pipe (126 gallons) of “London Quality” 10 year old Sherry $188

1803 – 400 bottles Champagne de Ay $406. Unfortunately 153 bottles were broken on the trip.

1803 – 100 bottles of Chambertin $78

1803 – 138 bottles of Tuscan wines $33, mostly Sangiovese from Montepulciano

1804 – 36 bottles of Hungarian Tokay $119

1803 – 50 bottles White Hermitage $46

1803 – 150 bottles of Rozan-Margaux (now known as Rauzan-Segla) $150

1804 – 36 bottles of Chateau Margaux 1798 (a great vintage) $252

The value of the dollar was quite different in those days, but clearly Jefferson didn't have today's competition to buy fine wines that would make prices a lot higher.

Record Price for Bordeau Wine

Sotheby's New York set a new record with the sale of one of the lots in the first of three sessions of selling collector, Bill Koch's cellar. The lot consisted of 10 bottles of Mouton Rothschild 1945 that sold for $343,000.

Tiburon Embezzler Arrested

Peter Winkler of Tiburon was arrested for embezzling $30,000 from Thomas Knoll Winery. He was a bookkeeper for the winery. Winkler had paid back $10,000 and agreed to pay the rest in $5,000 installments in order to avoid prosecution. He was the subject of a criminal complaint and was booked in San Rafael. Winkler is also chairman of the Tiburon Parks, Open Space & Trails Commission.

Where Did It Go?

As much as 800,000 liters of wine are missing and unaccounted for at the Cave Cooperative de Trouillas in France. The value of the missing wine is pegged at about 1.5 million with another 250,000 in taxes due. The matter has been reported to authorities.

Secret Wine Cellar Found

A secret wine cache was found in the Czech Republic when police located it beneath the floorboards in a home occupied by the Beaufoet-Spontin family. The family sympathized with the Nazis and fled the country in 1945. The property was confiscated by the government at the time. The wines found included Chateau d'Yquem 1892, 19th Century Port, and other 19th century wines.

More Fakes at Auction

Los Angeles attorney, Don Cornwell, broke up the party at Swiss auction house, Baghera, last month. The auction list had over 1,407 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti in 266 lots. In his judgment 19 lots were either “outright counterfeits or failed to conform to normal standards.” Another 40 lots that included older d'Yquem had “serious questions.” Baghera had claimed the Burgundies were all from one Swiss collector and had been in his possession since their original sale. Cornwell claimed that much of the DRC had come from a second group that was from the failed auction house, Noble Crus, which was liquidated in 2014. Those wines were mostly unauthenticated. Some of the bottles were identified by others as Kurniawan fakes. The result was that several lots were withdrawn before the sale by Baghera CEO, Michael Ganne. The sale netted 4.2 million Swiss Francs ($4 million).

Kurniawan's Legacy Haunts the Courts

A lawsuit for $2.45 million plus punitive damages has been filed against New York auction house, Vanquish, as well as its CEO, Richard Brierley, Xavier Nebout in Bordeaux, and Marc Lazar, a Missouri wine dealer. The suit was filed by Stephen Diggle, the principal in a Singapore investment firm that is registered in the British Virgin Islands. It alleges that the defendants knowingly sold 132 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti made by Rudy Kurniawan to the investment firm in 2011.

Vineyard Land Prices Spike

The California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers reports that Napa Valley land has set record prices. An acre averaged

$310, 000 in 2015 compared to $270,000 in 2014. But is that too much? A hectare (about 2.5 acres) of vineyard in Cartize, the heart of Prosecco, is estimated at 1.8 million. That's about $729,000 an acre. And that's only if you can find land for sale. The last sale was 2 years ago.


Chinese Tycoon Buys Two More Chateaux

Jack Ma, owner of Chinese online seller Alibaba, has purchased two more French Chateaux. Ch. Guerry and Ch. Perenne join his Ch. De Sours bought in 2015. Ch. Guerry produces 500,000 bottles of red and white a year from 158 acres. Ch. Perenne produces 84,000 bottles of red a year from 50 acres. The two vineyards date to the 18th century. The purchase price was 12 million.

Number 10 Downing Picks New Sparklers

David Cameron's government has stopped serving French Champagne at official receptions. The sparkling wines of choice for 10 Downing Street are now Ridgeview from Sussex and Chapel Down from Kent. A spokesperson for Number 10 said “The government is proud to celebrate Britain’s Stilton cheese to Scottish salmon. Now English sparkling wine, which has beaten Champagne in competitions, is among them.” The decision comes in the wake of a blind tasting in Paris organized by the UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The French judges chose the English sparklers ahead of French Champagne in two categories and even in a third.

Freixenet Gets Buyout Offer

Freixenet has reportedly received a buyout offer from Germany's Henkell & Co. Freixenet owns 18 wineries. Henkell owns a number of Sekt, Prosecco, Champagne, and Cava producers. Freixenent is owned by three branches of the founding Ferrer family. Spanish media reports that Jose Ferrer and his family are against the sale and are considering making a counter offer.


Wine Without Grapes?

The AVA Winery in San Francisco says it can make water into wine by using gas chromatography, ethanol, and flavor compounds. The company plans to duplicate Dom Perignon without using grapes. The process is claimed to take only 15 minutes. Will it work? The last time something like this was done, it was recorded in the Bible.

Bottle Keeps Wine From Spoiling

A new wine bottle can keep wine from spoiling for up to 30 days after opening. The Kuvee' wine bottle has a collapsible liner that shrinks as wine is poured keeping out oxygen. The wine is transferred to the bottle after opening its original bottle. The Kuvee' is also Wi-Fi connected so bars can track usage. Only $199 per unit.

How Much is Your Mouth Worth?

Yvonne Lorkin, a wine critic in New Zealand, has had her taste buds insured for $1 million. She is the Chief Tasting Officer for WineFriend and the company needs her tasting abilities to be in top order. The risk is covered by Lloyd's of London. Her nose, palate, and throat are all covered against any loss of ability due to disease or injury.


Tax Relief on the Way

With 218 co-sponsors, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903) is now supported by the majority of both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill will restructure taxes for small brewers.

Pabst Sues Miller/Coors

Pabst is suing Miller/Coors for $400 million over MC's decision to close its Eden, Wisconsin brewery later this year. MC says the plant no longer has the volume to continue operations and the company does not have the capacity to fill the contract at other facilities. MC has been contract brewing for Pabst for the past 17 years and has a contract going to 2020. The closure will also cause 500 employees to be laid off.

6 Pack Rings That Fish Can Eat

Saltwater Brewery in Florida has introduced new 6 pack rings that are edible and biodegradable. The plastic rings are made from the spent grain left over from the company's own brewing using a 3D printer. Environmentalist have argued that fish can get entangled in regular 6 pack rings.

Sam Adams Helps Vets

Boston Beer, maker of Samuel Adams, is partnering with American Dream U to provide funds to help military veterans transition to civilian life. Funds are given to vets for education or to help start a business.

2,000 Year Old Beer Tab

A team of archaeologists led by Sophie Jackson and Roger Tomlin have uncovered a trove of documents buried under London's Financial District. The records are inscribed on wooden plaques and date back to the city's earliest times. England was conquered by the Romans and London was founded in 43 AD. The documents are from 57 AD and talk about what else? Payments for shipments of beer. Evidently, beer distributors kept good records even then.

New Home Brewing System

Soda Stream has announced the introduction of a new home brewing system called Beer Bar. The home brewer can quickly make his own beer with sparkling water and beer concentrate. The system is available in Germany and Switzerland and will be sold in other countries. Beer concentrate is not a legal product in the U.S.

Stone Brewing Opens in Napa

Stone Brewing of Escondido is opening a tap room and restaurant in the historic Borreo Building in Napa. The building was constructed in the 19th Century and has been vacant for 15 years.

Beer & Pizza

Pizza Hut is testing two new pizzas in selected UK outlets with beer infused crusts. The new flavors are Steak Feast and American Hot. In order to get one of the pizzas a customer has to say “I like it hop.”

Brew Beer or Go To Jail

Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, has ordered Empress Polar, the country's top brewery with an 80% market share, to restart production. If the brewery doesn't resume operations, its executives could face jail time. The facility was shut down in April because it couldn't get raw materials with Venezuela's devalued currency.

3600 Year Old Brewery

A Stanford University team led by Jiajing Wang has discovered a brewery in Shaanxi Province in China that dates back to 3400 B.C. Evidence indicates barley was used to brew beer. Other ingredients included millet, lily, yam, and gourd. Although rice was used to make alcoholic beverages in China as long ago as 9,000 years, this is the first evidence of beer brewing. It is thought that the beer was a major part of the origin of Chinese culture.

Beer for Women

High Heel Brewing, the craft brewer founded by Kristi McGuire, is marketing a line of malt beverages designed for women. Offerings include Slingback, a blend of beer and pear cider (5.4% ABV), and Too Hop'd to Handle, an IPA made with four different hops with Belgian candied sugar added for smoothness (8.4% ABV).

Beer from Beans

Barney's Beer in Edinburgh has brewed a beer, Tundra IPA, made from fava beans, malt, and hops. The beer was developed as part of a project to find new uses for the beans which can be grown sustainably without chemical fertilizers.

AB/Inbev Antitrust Action

The Justice Department is investigating AB/Inbev's new incentive program for distributors. The program encourages distributors to sell more of AB/Inbev's products and less of competing independent Craft Beers. It is the encouragement of lower sales of competing products that is being looked into as a possible violation.

Another AB/Inbev Antitrust Action

AB/Inbev is facing a $150,000 fine and a 3 day suspension in Washington State for violating the state's “pay-to-play” law. The brewer allegedly paid two concert promoters to get exclusive sales at the concerts and to shut out competitors.

App Checks Beer Freshness

A project at the Complutense University of Madrid, a team developed a simple, low-cost method capable of measuring whether or not beer has gone stale, simply by using a sensor and a smartphone app. The results of the study have been published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. The project was led by Elena Benito-Peña and María Cruz Moreno-Bondi with the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness and the Mahou-San Miguel brewing company.

New App to Buy Beer

Beer industry pros are looking over the possibility taking orders by smart phone and delivering beer direct from brewery to consumers. Although virtually non-existent in the U.S., the system is booming in the UK, where more than one third of consumers buy their beer online.


Hard Cider and Soda

Craft Hard Soda Sales Growing

Craft Hard Sodas are growing as first quarter sales cracked $100 million. The category's originator, Not Your Father's Roots Beer, doubled its first quarter sales at $36 million. Not Your Father's introduced a Ginger Ale in September and a Vanilla Cream last month. Meanwhile, 19 other brands have entered the category within the last 6 months.



On June 23 the UK will vote on a referendum about leaving the European Common Market. The referendum has been dubbed Brexit. If the vote is to leave there will be winners and losers. The Scotch Whisky Association fears the possible loss of 1.27 billion. Irish whisky could double in sales. Diageo, the biggest Scotch Whisky exporter stands to lose a major portion of its business; the brands most at risk are Johnnie Walker, Bells, and J&B.

Cuervo May Go Public

The Beckmann family, owners of Jose Cuervo, are working with JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to structure a stock issue in their company. The sale of stock is expected to raise $750 million. It has not yet been decided whether to list in the U.S., UK, or Mexico. The Beckmanns are direct descendants of Jose Antonio de Cuervo, who founded the company in 1758.

Bourbon Sales Hit New High

Kentucky Bourbon production in 2015 showed a 44% increase over 2014 at 1.9 million barrels. Bourbon aging reached the highest number since 1974 with 6,657,063 barrels. Bourbon is legally required to age a minimum of 2 years. Taxes must be paid at the whiskey's 12th birthday, whether or not it's bottled. This becomes a de facto maximum age limit. Only a meager amounts remain in inventory past the tax paid date. It is just too expensive to store fully paid whiskey and continue to lose the “angel's share.”

Free Cocktails in Singapore

DFS Wine and Spirits, the liquor retailer in Terminal 3 of Singapore's Changi Airport, is offering travelers free cocktails this summer. There are 3 choices: Chop Chop Lah made with Absolut Vodka; Shiok Date made with Jack Daniels Single Barrel; and Kiasu Kaya made with Ron Zacapa Rum. And a Champagne cocktail made with Veuve Cliquot. Guest bartenders from Singapore's top bars will do the mixing. They hail from 28 HongKong Street, Jigger & Pony, Manhattan, The Library, and Smoke & Mirrors.

Oldest Woman Drinks Grappa

The oldest person in the world is Emma Morano. She was born November 29, 1899 and is also believed to be the only person born in the 19th Century that is still living. She lives in Verbania, Italy. Emma owes her long life to two things. She has a drink of home made Grappa every day. She also eats two eggs a day; one hard boiled and the other raw. Her doctor told her to do that in 1919 when she was 20. A shot of Grappa every day will do it!

Other Foods and Beverages

This Year's Food Fix

Get your food fix at the Sacramento County Fair. This year's offerings include deep fried avocado tacos, deep fried Twix Bars, and deep fried pastrami and chicken sandwiches.

Michelle Obama Wins!

Michelle Obama had a huge victory recently. She has made it her priority to convince Americans to eat healthier and reduce obesity during the past 7 years as First Lady. Partially through her efforts the FDA has announced new nutrition food label guidelines that will require manufacturers to list added sugars and adjust serving sizes to more closely match what people really eat.

California Restaurant Named to Top 10

Cala in San Francisco has been named to Food & Wine's top 10 restaurants of 2016. This restaurant is the creation of Gabriela Camara, who also owns Contramar in Mexico City. Featured dishes include sea urchin tamales with leek relish, trout tostadas, and abalone and oyster ceviche. 149 Fell Street.

California Restaurant Named to Top 50

Saison Restaurant in San Francisco was named #27 in Restaurant Magazine's top 50 world restaurant list. It was the only California restaurant to make the list. The feature is a different tasting menu every night. Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy was given the #1 rating in the world. Copenhagen's Noma which held the #1 spot for the last 4 years dropped to #5.

Healthy Gourmet Fast Food

Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson have brought inexpensive healthy gourmet fast food to LocoL in LA's Watts neighborhood. Menu items include bean & cheese foldies $2, cheesburgs with chili awesome sauce $4, and tofu with vegetable stew $6. 1950 East 103rd Street.

A Restaurant with High Standards

Amrita Restaurant in Japan will open July 29. Diners will be naked just like in the Bunyadi in London. The restaurant claims its servers are “men with the world's most beautiful bodies.” But there's a catch. If you are more than 33 pounds over the average weight for your height, you won't be allowed in. Better go on a diet now.

Prison Restaurant in Singapore

Over Easy, an “American style” restaurant is opening in Singapore. It has a prison theme and will be set up as a mess hall. Food will be served on plastic prison trays and will feature the same menus served to convicts in the U.S. Employees dressed as guards will patrol the dining area. Is eating there “cruel and unusual punishment?”

Coca-Cola Loses Trademark Rights

The Trial and Trademark Appeal Board has ruled that Coca-Cola has the right to register the trade name “zero”, but does not have exclusive rights to the word in product names. In a separate development Coke will be releasing special commemorative packaging this summer to honor its 75 year partnership with the USO.

Sleepy Time

Coke is experimenting with a new Glaceau Sleep Water in Japan. The hype says you will drift off gently to sleep and wake up refreshed after drinking it.

Wake Up!

Pepsi is releasing Pepsi Strong in Japan. Regular Pepsi has a gas volume of 1.0. Pepsi Strong has 5 times as much with a gas volume of 5.0. That's the world's strongest carbonation. It has to be packed in specially reinforced plastic bottles.

Soda Warning

A new law on soda sales in San Francisco goes into effect on July 25. The law requires a warning about health effects of sugared sodas in paper ads, posters and billboards, but not on TV commercials or packaging.

Cold Coffee is Hot

Cold coffee sales are booming. Industrywide sales increased 20% in the 4th quarter of 2015. The U.S. market is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2020.

Time Out

Southern Cal grocery store employees will hold a strike vote on June 20. It's 10 years since the unions staged the longest strike in local history.

Bringing the Winery Home

Collective Home Showroom at the L.A. Mart (Suite 907) is offering Old River Road, Napa inspired decorator products during the Summer Market July 20-25, 2016. The uptrend of wine making, vineyard living, wine tasting and outdoor entertaining make Old River Road relevant and delightful for everyone, and also make beautiful display pieces. To gain admission if you're not a decorator, email or call (678) 215-4571.

It's Going to the Dogs

And Finally, The UK brewery, Woof & Brew, is making a non-alcoholic beer that is made specially for dogs. The beer called Bottom Sniffers has a chicken flavor added. Now your dog can share a relaxing beer with you and your buddies.


Here in the U.S., Flat12 Bierworks in Indianapolis isn't content just making craft beer. The local brewery also makes a meat based craft beer for dogs. It's made from bones, trimmings, carrots, brewer's yeast, and beer wort. Your dog can enjoy a bowl of the stuff for only $1.

...or Cats

...And really finally, Sana Hamelin, who opened Denver's first “cat cafe'” where people can take their cat for a morning cup of caffeine, is opening the country's first cat bar. Owners can bring their cat and enjoy a glass of non-alcoholic wine or craft beer in a lounge atmosphere. Cats are more active at night so it should do well. Don't have a cat? No worry, Hamelin will help you adopt one. The cat cafe has had 150 adoptions since it opened. The Denver Cat Bar is scheduled to open March 2017.


Alcohol is bad for cats. So what are those cats going to drink? Apollo Peak has the drink. The company makes Pinot Meow (red) and MosCato (white). The faux wine is made from organic catnip, water, and beet juice. Apollo Peak shouldn't think they have the market to themselves. A Japanese company is making Nyan Nyan Nouveau (Japanese cats say nyan nyan instead of meow). This cat wine is made from Cabernet grape juice and catnip. It's only a limited edition of 1,000 bottles at $4 per. Pre-orders are being accepted.


The Changing Market

Top Retailer Amazon

A study by 360pi revealed how many products are carried by Amazon. The number is 12.2 million not including books, media, wine, and services. Adding in products that are available through marketplace sellers the number balloons to 353.7 million SKU's. Amazon now accounts for one out of every three retail transactions in North America.


The 2016 Global Threat Intelligence Report showed that the retail industry has replaced the financial sector as the top target for cybercrime. Retailers experienced 3 times the attacks that financial institutions had during last year. According to a study, 8,000 companies surveyed had 6.2 billion attacks. Customer account information on credit cards and bank accounts were the prize that was targeted. 21% of the systems compromised had vulnerabilities that were more than 3 years old. 65% of attacks originated right here in the U.S. Cybercriminals are using telephone and webhosting companies to infiltrate business systems.

Retail Shrink

Retail shrink was up again for 2015. Losses totaled $45 billion or 1.38% of sales up from $44 billion in 2014.


Frozen Negroni

8 oz Gin

8 oz Campari

8 oz Sweet vermouth

24 oz ice

    1. Blend at high spend until smooth

    2. Pour into 8 rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel

    3. Drink immediately, Serves 8

      Champagne Gummy Bears

    1 750ml Inexpensive Sparkling Wine
    1 bag Gummy Bears
    1 bowl
    Plastic wrap

    Put the gummy bears in the bowl. Pour in enough sparkling wine to cover them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. By the next day the gummy bears will have soaked up enough wine that they are slightly alcoholic and totally delicious.


    Measure Blood Alcohol

    BACtrack, a medical device maker, won a $200,000 prize in the National Institutes of Health Wearable Biosensor Challenge for its BACtrack Skyn wristband. The device measures blood alcohol content from sweat on the skin. It can connect to a smartphone with bluetooth technology, allowing the user to track their alcohol intake, and alert the user’s phone when too much has been consumed.

    Red Wine Does it Again

    Dr. J.P. Hyatt and a team at Georgetown University have found that resveratrol in red red wine counteracts the harmful effects of a high fat diet on leg muscles. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. Rhesus monkeys were fed normal and high fat diets with and without resveratrol. The leg muscles of monkeys fed high fat diets with no resveratrol fatigued easily.

    Tequila and Osteoporosis

    Dr. Mercedes Lopez and a team of researchers at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in central Mexico have demonstrated that the absorption of calcium and magnesium was improved when compounds from the tequila agave are consumed. The procedure involved giving agave fructans, a polymer of fructose molecules, to mice with induced osteoporosis. Eight weeks later a femur sample was taken from the mice to measure the absorption of minerals and osteocalcin, a protein that indicates the production of new bone. Dr. Lopez said that the “mice that consumed this fructans synthesized nearly 50 percent more of the protein, and added to the diameter of their bones.”

    Tasting Notes

    Each month we are out there looking for wines that “over deliver”; wines that offer more than others in their category and price level. We search out the wines that you can buy to help build your business; wines that make customers happy and keep them coming back. These are wines we rate as good buys and best buys. Check our notes. The opinions in the reviews are our own and unsolicited. We receive no compensation from wineries or brokers. This month there were several wine tastings that showed some very nice wines available at reasonable prices. The prices shown are approximate retails.


    Riboli Family Wine Estates

    has developed a fine stable of brands that were shown off at a recent tasting. Contact your Riboli/Maddalena sales rep. Among them:

    Elkhorn Ridge Smokescreen Napa Chardonnay 2014. Semi Dry, clear, fresh, bright, 100% barrel fermented, an excellent buy at $19.99. Fifty Row 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, mellow, full body, true Napa Cab berry flavors, $49.99.

    Marisco Pinot Gris 2014, New Zealand, light salmon color, good nose, full body, good food wine, $14.99.

    Rancho Maria Petite Sirah 2012, soft, full body, good nose, dark purple color $29.99.

    Bodegas Luzon Altos de Luzon Crianza 2010; Spain, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Mourvedre; full body, dark color, good nose, lots of fruit, good with beef or BBQ, a best buy at $19.99.

    Castillo Perelada Blanc Pescador N/V, as named it is a fisherman's wine and a good buy for everyday drinking at $10.99.


    The Santa Barbara Vintners Road Trip

    was segmented into a few days of tastings to show off different groups of wines. It was a new format that worked well. It provided an opportunity to taste and compare various styles and terroir for individual varieties. The wines were all good, with some very good, and some outstanding. Here are a few of our finds:

    Qupe Dodger Blue Chardonnay NV. We noted this tribute to the LA Dodgers in last month's edition. It was a delight to taste it. Owner and winemaker Bob Lindquist has a lot to be proud of. 87% Santa Barbara Chardonnay, 6% Chardonnay, 7% Roussanne, bright, fresh, medium nose, clear, $24. Contact or (805) 686-4200.

    Nielson Chardonnay 2014, part stainless and part barrel fermented, bright, fresh, medium nose, clear, nice expression and complexity, a best buy at $16. Contact Ryan Pace or (805) 938-7351.

    Margerum Rose', a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% other grapes, made with red wine grapes with the juice taken off the skins before the color deepens, medium dry, good color and nose, $18. Distributed by Chambers & Chambers. Contact Roger Parks,
    Brand Manager or (415) 805-9479, or
    Bruno Walker, Director of Sales .

    Core Wine Hard Core 2009; a blend of 38% mourvedre, 34% tempranillo, 25% cabernet sauvignon, 5% syrah, and 1% grenache; soft with good tannins, dark color, good nose, and full body, an outstanding blend, $25. Contact Becky Corey or (805) 598-5050.

    Andrew Murray Vineyards Syrah 2014, 100% varietal, good color and nose, full body, outstanding balance, 14.4% ABV, a best buy at $16, Contact Andrew Murray or (805) 686-9604.

    Jaffurs Syrah 2013, dark color, good nose, full body, mellow, $29. Contact Craig Jaffurs or (805) 962-7003.

    Grassini Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Petite Verdot, dark color, big aromatic bouquet, full body, full flavor, impressive, $65. Contact or (805) 897-3366.

    Martellatto Merlot 2014, 75% Merlot 25% Cabernet Franc, good nose, royal purple color, good full flavor, 14% ABV, $30. Contact Greg Martellatto or (619) 269-0874.

    Brander Sauvignon Blanc 2015, fruity Sauvignon Blanc nose, light straw color, dry, good finish, a best buy at $16. Contact Fred Brander or (805) 897-3366.


    Spring to Loire 2016

    showed a number of wines that would go well with food or just provide a good background for a sunny afternoon. All the wines listed below are good buys and priced reasonably.

    Barton & Gustier Rose de Anjou 2014, semi dry, bright & fresh, 75% Grolleau, 25% Gamay. $10.99. Distributed by Wine Warehouse.

    Charles Bove Touraine Sparkling Rose NV, methode traditionale, aged 18 months on its lees before being disgorged, dry, fresh, and very pleasing. $16.99 Imported by Vintage '59 Imports. Damon Gravina or (917) 528-1608.

    Domaine La Potardiere 2014 Muscadet Sevre et Maine, clear bright, fresh, citrusy, $14. Nomadic Distributors Brian Reuter, or (310) 433-8207

    Bouvet Ladubay NV Sparkling Chenin Blanc, 80% Chenin Blanc 20% Chardonnay, good nose, yeasty, good bubble structure, $15.99. Imported by Kobrand. Distributed by Youngs Market.

    Denis Breussin Vouvray 2012, 100% Chenin Blanc, fruity, semi-dry, heavy bodied, chewy, $19. Imported by Cru Wines, or (323) 782-7060.

    The Alsace Grand Tasting and Seminar

    was held at Terrine in Los Angeles and hosted by Jean-Baptiste Dhalluin. It was a great opportunity to taste unique wines and styles in an outstanding venue.

    Charles Sparr Pinot Blanc 2013, 100% varietal, good color and nose, light, fruity, flavorful, bright, minerality, 12.5% ABV, a very good buy at $16. Imported by Vinthology or (707) 224-3100.

    Dopff & Irion Pinot Blanc 2013, clean, clear, good nose, light and fruity, lively, 12.5% ABV, a best buy at $13. Imported by Dreyfus Ashby.

    Jean-Baptiste Adam Crement d'Alsace Brut Rose' NV, Pale Pink, good bubble structure, very dry, dosage 7 g/l, 12% ABV, delicious, $21. Imported by The Sorting Table. (707) 603-1470.


    Industry Calendar

    6/6-7/5 Ramadan

    6/7 Bordeaux Under One Roof

    6/9 Sparkling Soiree – Santa Maria

    6/11 Rhone Rangers – SFO

    6/13 Epic Wines - Yountville

    6/14 Epic Wines – SFO

    6/14 Vinthology – SFO

    6/15 Epic Wines – San Diego

    6/16 Epic Wines – Beverly Hills

    6/18 Pinot Days – SFO

    6/18 Beer Camp Across America - SFO

    6/19 Fathers Day

    6/20 WineWise - SFO

    6/23 Baiju Competition - LA

    6/24-26 Russian River Valley Experience – Sonoma

    6/25 Beer Camp Across America – LA

    6/25 Taste of Mendocino – SFO

    6/25-26 LA Winefest – LA

    6/26 Republic of Georgia Wines – SFO

    7/4 Independence Day

    7/9 Garagiste Festival – Hollywood

    7/11 Chambers & Chambers – SFO

    7/16 Oakland Wine Festival - Oakland

    7/19 Southern California Fresh Produce Expo – Anaheim

    7/23 Long Beach Grand Cru – Long Beach

    7/28 Fresno Food Expo – Fresno

    Promotional Calendar

    6/4 National Cognac Day

    6/5 National Moonshine Day

    6/8 National Name Your Poison Day

    6/11 World Gin Day

    6/14 National Bourbon Day

    6/19 Fathers' Day

    6/19 National Dry Martini Day

    6/30 National Mai Tai Day

    7/2 National Anisette Day

    7/4 Independence Day

    7/10 National Pina Colada Day

    7/11 National Mojito Day

    7/14 Grand Marnier Day

    7/14 Bastille Day

    7/16 Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day

    7/19 Daiquiri Day

    7/24 Tequila Day

    7/25 Wine & Cheese Day

    7/27 Scotch Day


    New Legislation for 2016

    Our industry has more laws controlling it than most industries. The State

    Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and can take them away. New alcoholic beverage laws were passed that are effective in 2016. Many critical issues are pending. Do you know about them and are you prepared for the changes. Is your business safe? Members are encouraged to look through the Legislative Bulletin. If there is a new law that is a problem for your business, call the association office now. The CBRA is your voice in Sacramento. If you are not a member, join today. The CBRA is your only voice when it comes to new beverage laws.

    Brands and Comments

    The CBRA Newsletter has not accepted any payment from any of the brands mentioned

    in this edition. The editor, Ron Ziff, welcomes comments at

    CBRA Membership Remains Open

    Now, more than ever, access to your industry is important. The CBRA is California's

    only statewide association of licensed retailers, and our membership continues to be

    open for the first time in 20 years.

    At CBRA we deal with licenses and regulations that affect the beverage business on a

    daily basis. That's why CBRA offers practical solutions, unique products, services,

    information, and timely advice for both large and small beverage businesses. With

    reasonable fees, superior service, and associates that are easy to reach, CBRA helps you

    to run your business better and easier. One of the most valuable services we offer is that

    call to the ABC to ask your question. We can ask that question and keep you anonymous. That's something you just can't do yourself.

    Join or renew your valuable membership today. You can't afford to delay.

    California Beverage Retailers Association – California's Only Statewide Association of Licensees. We're #1!

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